Our Lhotse expedition will use the same logistical support/route as our Everest expedition members as the route is the same all the way up to camp 3, with a separate camp 4 being located on Lhotse itself.
The traditional Everest basecamp is a crowded place and sits on active ice which moves and melts around the tents during the course of the expedition, so Himex will camp slightly further down the valley closer to Pumori where there is more sun and the ice does not move – this makes for a much more comfortable experience and place to call home.
Due to the unstable nature of the Kumbu Icefall, Himex intends to minimise the amount of time members and Sherpas spend here, so we will spend more time on Lobuche and the surrounding peaks during acclimatisation.
We will place an emergency tent and equipment at camp 1 at the top of the ice fall, however this camp has an inherent avalanche danger so members are encouraged not to stay here.
Our first trip into the Western Cwm will therefore be directly to camp 2 (6,400m) where we will spend two nights before continuing up to camp 3 (7,200m) on the Lhotse face. Here we spend one night acclimatising before heading down to camp 2 for another night, before returning down to basecamp.
On our way up to the top of Lhotse we will start from camp 3 on the Lhotse face and follow the normal Everest route up over the ‘Yellow Band’. When we get close to the ‘Geneva Spur’ this is where we take a sharp right hand turn and leave the Everest trail and climb up a steep slope to the Lhotse camp 4.
We will leave camp 4 in the dark and head towards the Lhotse couloir which is approximately 600m long and 50 to 60 degrees steep, and generally rather narrow, made up of mostly snow and a few sections of steep rock scrambling – the views of Everest from this couloir are outstanding. At the top we reach the summit block, which is a steep section of rock climbing that finishes on the tiny summit, from which we get unique and unparalleled views of Everest and the surrounding peaks.
The descent involves a series of abseils and arm wraps into camp 4 before following the normal fixed line traverse on the standard Everest route back into camp 3, and then the usual descent from here to basecamp.